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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Selection from toolbox

Sometimes task of gearing up Amphibear seems not possible to solve. Ultra light weight must be combined with high performance. But some tools make you feel like a child with a new toy. Here is selection of some.

Saw is the tool most needed on less traveled roads. But in daily life used so little, that I dare to give no weight nor room for it. The most compact wire saw is not an option. Just I do not trust these. I was really glad to find hand chain saw BCB. Youtube tests prove its efficiency. And holding at hand I am sure. It is the most compact reliable saw you can get.

Next tool I could not resist was Leatherman Surge. We are all used to multitools. This has couple of surprises. One more saw for plastic, metal, wood and so on. It has socket for common jigsaw blade. So with proper handle you can have saw for all your needs. Another most welcomed tool in other end  - small screwdriver for electronics. And of course it has all the rest, including nice big scissors. All tools for one hand operation. 75lm Led Lenser attached to beltclip.

At last the flashlight I like. It does the most simple thing properly - switch on off with one touch of the button. Tired of cheap flashing options,  Led Lenser 7R makes the day lighter, can be loaded just from the same wire as your mobile phone and if you really need has a set of smart options also.

Last but not least the Wuerth adjustable wrench. It has reach 0-40 mm. Made with exactness, so you can measure diameters. I have had it couple of years now and not once Amphibear has traveled without it.

Of course the toolbox is large and includes a lot more. They are all good tools. But presented items have something more. They have character. They I made by designers who really think of users.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Safety gear

Arrived last safety gear piece Viking Life 4 UKL RescYou, equipped with ISO Pack I. Not small, not light. It weights 36 kg. Fitting it will take some thinking. If not fitting into the car, I will set it on the roof on land. For better accessibility it will go on top of pontoon on sea.

Now all needed safety gear is here and I have more piece of mind. Last safety services topic was insurance. While traveling, travel insurance is most needed. But in remote places this does not help much. For remote places there is nice budget option.  Membership of GEOS SEARCH & RESCUE PROGRAM at gives you some serious promises. They promise to bring you out of wilderness within 72h on you emergency message (only very few exceptions). And coverage of 50 000 USD costs by case. It has some fine letter in agreement also. Let us hope, that neither big promises nor fine letter will be needed.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Protection from corrosion

After two and half days crawling under the car the underside is finally covered with corrosion protection vax Terotex HV 400. Years ago Offroad Service did the same job. And in a lot of places the vax layer was visible and of course no corrosion under it. Car has got some water and frame has some spots or stripes of rust. Still quite OK. Now I have shiny underside (of the car) to first gravel road.

Shiny frame and vax Terotex HV 400

As side result I had to throw away some clothes and ground cover sheets. As dried vax is resistant to washing or cleaning attempts, it was easiest solution.

This does not protect the car from corrosion totally. There are inaccessible places and vax will also wash off over time. But as all bolts and nuts and visible places are now covered, then there should be a lot less corrosion and easier access for a while.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thank you for donations

I am delighted to thank first donors of Amphibear Around the World project: Urmas Lilleorg, Mihkel Ambre, Cristo Pajust, Laur Kelder, Anneli Alekand, Riina Einberg, Tiit Nilson and Jaan Kelder (in sequence of donation date). Names will be printed to Amphibear and driven around the World.

There are helpful and kind people in the world!  Your belief makes it true.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Bucket of chain

First chain on Amphibear hydraulic pump lasted two hours. It was my mistake. I was counting on crease applied in factory. But chain is behind car radiator. It has working temperature about 80 Celsius. Crease melts and flies away from chain. Especially, as industrial chains do not have o-rings to keep grease in place. Chain without lubrication is really matter of hours.

Next chains are prepared differently. First all factory crease is flushed away, chain dried, drylube applied, chain dried, high viscosity and temperature chain oil applied. Drylube keeps lubrication cycle longer and withstands higher loads. Chain oil distributes better and keeps corrosion away. This way chains last. Preparation of course is dirty and not quick job, but if you do bunch of chains together then there is some efficiency.

Bucket 10 litre almost full of chains with applied lubricants Loctite MoS2 drylube (8191) and high temperature chain oil (8011).

I have prepared 10 chains for the start of journey. More I never need on first stage and less I do not dare to take as mistake in lubrication or Scottoiler malfunction can end some chains rather quickly.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Preparations have lasted more than year for now. Every week I write to paper tasks for the week, in total about 20 tasks. Half of these will be fulfilled during the week, half need some more work in next. And 10 are added to the list every week.

As sample, Week 35 list of tasks:
  • Get offers for car insurance
  • Configure social media for the blog
  • Post new blog entry
  • Make a list for media press release 
  • Get final conditions for Carnet
  • Time for dentist
  • Sign sponsor agreements 
  • Apply for Senegal via
  • Find out Russian special permission areas in my way 
  • Go to Hydroscand for hydraulics service
  • Order car spare parts
  • Connect additional fuel filter
  • Move position of FineVu camera
  • Replace main rope
  • Get sponsor logos for car design
  • Car oil change
  • Make fender for case of chain breakage 
  • Renew application for boat radio devices
  • Clean spare chains from factory oil and oil with Henkel oils
  • Make computer attachment to car
  • Calibrate car magnetic compass
This is not the only list. Somewhere in computer there is list for needed equipment. Somewhere there is list for budget and accounting tasks. Table is covered with cables, to check video and computer compatibility for travel, make USB hub to work with external hard drive, test computer with AIS and position NMEA sentences.

It seems the base of evil is equipment. The more you have it the more you need to test, connect and pack. But Amphibear is piece of equipment also. And it is the modern equipment that makes near real time blogging, tweeting and even navigation possible. There is no way out of this circle!

Simple algebra says that with 52 weeks and 10 tasks performed every week journey preparations take about 520 task to fulfill. As preparations started much earlier we can double or triple this number.

Sometimes I wish to be on trip already. But this is wrong attitude. Happy you can be in every single moment and happiness can not be planned ahead. So, let's be happy now with my task lists.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


I have worked as marketing manager, but I have never supervised laminating process of vehicle. Amphibear was laminated by Hardwic. Two, sometimes three men worked on it 11 hours. For me it is like painting. I hate painting. You have to make it correct at once. I commonly make small defects, then start to improve these and then ruin the result. I prefer to trust these jobs to professionals.

First stage is cleaning. Even on totally clean surface they find dirt with right chemicals. After that design is aligned and attached temporarily.

Next stage is laminating process itself. Most important is to keep position, so thin ribbon of protective film is removed on one side and pressed to surface as base for position. Then carefully the rest of image is glued.
The most beautiful moment is removing of protective outer layer.

Hardwic team laminated Amphibear.

Instructions for owner of freshly laminated car were simple. Do not move tinted windows and wait for two weeks, before you trim edges you want to trim..

Designed by Division. I like the car outlook much more now.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Radio equipment

Received travel equipment from Tehnoturg. Cool stuff! The most important items are pair of Alinco DJ G7E radio transmitters as short range walkie-talkie solution for all over the world. Tehnoturg preprogrammed licence free frequencies: for Europe PMR, for America FRS and Marine VHF channels also. In all frequencies Alinco can transmit and listen, btw it can listen two frequencies simultaneously. Of course, as Amphibear has marine plotter in the place of radio, now I can listen to normal radio channels also. These are HAM devices, but with my restricted radio operator licence and no HAM call sign I can not use this functionality. Additionally I will program in (receive, not transmit) AIS channels for additional audio warning on ocean and CB channels for highway information. Plotter has AIS receiver installed, but double warning is better.

Especially glad I am about waterproofness of the devices. Otherwise dangerous salty sea-air should not damage these, as they are IPX7 certified. As no free place for device in dashboard, the dock was installed on passenger seat shoulder. Small metal console from headrest keeps dock on place. Of course there are cheaper devices for walkie-talkie, but as with regions I need to switch frequencies. Cheaper ones would be useless soon.

Alinco DJ G7E in doc at passenger seat shoulder

They provided clever external antenna also. Wire is protected in the middle of the frame. So you can close the window and it is sealed. No hole drilling or cable sleeves needed.

Clever external antenna holder

Now I am equipped with communication devices. I have: marine VHF with DSC, pair of Alinco multifunctional devices, two GSM phones, Iridium DeLorme messenger, and EPIRB transmitter for emergency signal. All devices are waterproof to some extent. Should be enough for all regions and situations.